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Debate: Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

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-*'''Monitoring NCBT could further alienate countries.:''' Monitoring a country (an intrinsic part of implementing a test ban), would cause certain countries to feel as though their sovereignty was being unfairly infringed upon. Thus they would feel alienated to a degree, causing unnecessary international tensions. Often the counter argument for this would be something like: "if these countries are opposed to international laws, and monitoring, then why would they agree to them in the first place?" Countries like Iran and North Korea put themselves in these positions quite regularly, and there is no reason that a nuclear test ban treaty would not be an extension of this.+*'''Monitoring NCBT could further alienate countries.''' Monitoring a country (an intrinsic part of implementing a test ban), would cause certain countries to feel as though their sovereignty was being unfairly infringed upon. Thus they would feel alienated to a degree, causing unnecessary international tensions. Often the counter argument for this would be something like: "if these countries are opposed to international laws, and monitoring, then why would they agree to them in the first place?" Countries like Iran and North Korea put themselves in these positions quite regularly, and there is no reason that a nuclear test ban treaty would not be an extension of this.
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===Deterrence: Can nuclear powers maintain deterrence under a nuclear test ban? === ===Deterrence: Can nuclear powers maintain deterrence under a nuclear test ban? ===

Revision as of 03:56, 18 June 2009

Is the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty or any other kind of ban on nuclear testing, a good idea?

Background and context

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) bans all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996 but it has not yet entered into force.[1]

See Wikipedia's article on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Nonproliferation: Would the NTBT help with non-proliferation efforts?

Pro

  • Test ban is a key step toward nuclear disarmmaent Daryl G. Kimball of the Arms Control Association, said in a speech delivered September 22, 2005:[1] "The de facto global nuclear test moratorium and CTBT’s entry into force are crucial barriers to help prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to additional states and are essential to the future viability of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). They are the first two of the 13 practical steps for systematic and progressive nuclear disarmament that were unanimously adopted in the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference. In fact, the nuclear weapon states' commitment to the CTBT was vital in securing the indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995."
  • Nuclear test ban helps prevent emergence of nuclear threats. Daryl G. Kimball of the Arms Control Association,Delivered 22 September 2005"The CTBT is an essential step towards nuclear disarmament because it helps to discourage dangerous nuclear competition and block new nuclear threats from emerging.Given the series of crises with grave nuclear overtones that have shaken the South Asian sub-continent since the 1998 nuclear explosions, it should be self-evident that another round of tit-for-tat testing would adversely affect regional and international security."


Con

  • Nuclear Test Ban Treaty does not help unmake nuclear weapons. By Mikhail Gorbachev,April 17 2009 "I am reminded of the treaty that established the League of Nations after World War I. The US never ratified the treaty and never joined the League. It suffered nothing by refusing to do so, even as the League quickly proved to be a failure in preventing conflicts.There is no way to unmake nuclear weapons. Like guns, restrictions on them never seem to deter the rogues we fear but only tie the hands of the responsible citizens of the world. While we can certainly try to avoid producing unnecessary numbers of them and pointing them at each other threateningly, we will never see a world rid of them until and unless some new technology makes them obsolete. That is why a functional missile defense system has to be a priority for the US."
  • Nuclear test ban lacks meaningful commitment to nuclear disarmament: Comment of then Minister of External Affairs I K GujralCommenting on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in September 1996, the then Minister for External Affairs, IK Gujral said “It is not a ‘comprehensive treaty,’ (as) it permits the nuclear weapon states to continue their weapons related research and development activity using non-explosive technologies; it lacks any meaningful commitment to nuclear disarmament and instead of being the definitive first step of the nuclear disarmament process, it only serves to perpetuate the existing discriminatory status quo.” This was the keystone of India’s stand on the CTBT in the 1990s.


Enforcement: Can a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty be effectively enforced?

Pro

  • Technologies have improved for detecting nuclear tests, enforcing ban. While there are still some avenues for nuclear powers to perform nuclear tests, new technologies have made it much easier to detect most nuclear testing. Technologies for detection will continue to improve as time goes on.


Con

  • Detecting nuclear tests, enforcing ban, is too difficult January 6, 1997-Robert Irion: "While the treaty calls for a total ban on nuclear testing, there is a threshold beneath which the seismic network will be unable to detect tiny events, Lay says. However, much of the research by network designers is driven by the U.S. objective of detecting explosions as small as a few kilotons "evasively tested," meaning that the testers devise some way to prevent the explosion from vibrating the surrounding rock as strongly. Suspending the device within a large subterranean cavity is one such technique. To unveil all such explosions, says Lay, "We'd have to be able to look everywhere in the world for a magnitude 2.5 event, detect it, and discriminate between an earthquake, nuclear test, mining blast, or some other event. That's a staggering objective."
  • Nuclear Test Ban lacks force behind it. Paula A. Desutter "The Test Ban Treaty Would Help North Korea". The Wall Street Journal. June 1, 2009" As for deterrence, it's a simple concept: convince others that the cost of taking an action you wish to prevent is far greater than any benefits. At a minimum, violators should not benefit from their violation. The Obama administration's special envoy for North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, has been touring the region warning of "dire consequences" if North Korea tests. Strong words, but likely empty of substance.


Diplomacy: What are the diplomatic pros and cons?

Pro

  • US diplomacy on disarmament requires that it sign test ban treaty. Published: May 24, 2009 ;NewYork Times by YANDREW ROSENTHAL, Editor: "if Washington has any hope of rallying diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions for constraining Iran’s nuclear ambitions or North Korea’s program, it has to show that it, too, is willing to play by the international rules. For both of those reasons, the Senate needs to ratify the test ban treaty."


Con

  • Monitoring NCBT could further alienate countries. Monitoring a country (an intrinsic part of implementing a test ban), would cause certain countries to feel as though their sovereignty was being unfairly infringed upon. Thus they would feel alienated to a degree, causing unnecessary international tensions. Often the counter argument for this would be something like: "if these countries are opposed to international laws, and monitoring, then why would they agree to them in the first place?" Countries like Iran and North Korea put themselves in these positions quite regularly, and there is no reason that a nuclear test ban treaty would not be an extension of this.

Deterrence: Can nuclear powers maintain deterrence under a nuclear test ban?

Pro

  • Nuclear powers can maintain warheads and deterrence without testing. Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty. Congressional Research Service. March 12, 2008: "Can the United States maintain deterrence without testing? The treaty’s supporters hold that U.S. programs can maintain existing, tested weapons without further testing, pointing to 12 annual assessments that these weapons remain safe and reliable, and claim that these weapons meet any deterrent needs."

Con

  • Warheads and deterrence cannot be maintained without testing. Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty. Congressional Research Service. March 12, 2008: "Opponents maintain that there can be no confidence in existing warheads because many minor modifications will change them from tested versions, so testing is needed to restore and maintain confidence. They see deterrence as dynamic, requiring new weapons to counter new threats, and assert that these weapons must be tested."

Nuclear fallout: Does a nuclear test ban treaty reduce risks of nuclear fallout?

Pro


Con

  • Certain types of testing eliminate risk of nuclear fallout. Underground and atmospheric testing effectively eliminate any risk of nuclear fallout. A nuclear test ban treaty, therefore, may be excessive in achieving the goal of limiting nuclear fallout risks. It would be sufficient to place restrictions on nuclear tests, limiting them such that the risks of nuclear fallout are low or negligible.

Pro/con sources

Pro


Con


External links


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